Rio Ferdinand situation could have been avoided, say Glenn Hoddle and Steve McClaren

Hoddle ponders Rio debacle

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Former England bosses Glenn Hoddle and Steve McClaren told The Footballers' Football Show they were surprised Roy Hodgson allowed the Rio Ferdinand situation to develop the way it has.

Current England manager Hodgson opted to recall centre-back Ferdinand to the international fold after a series of impressive displays for Manchester United.

However, just days after the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro was announced, Ferdinand pulled out of the fixtures due to his detailed pre-planned training and medical programme.

That has left the defender's international future up in the air and highlighted the club v country debate, with Ferdinand seemingly prioritising Manchester United's Premier League campaign over England's World Cup qualifiers.

However, Hoddle, who coached the Three Lions at the 1998 World Cup, reckons the confusion and trouble could have been avoided had Hodgson spoken to Ferdinand before announcing the squad.

"This could have been avoided," he said.

"Looking back I imagine Roy will have wanted to have gone to Rio and spoken to him personally and said 'you've been fantastic this season, one of the best in country I'm putting you back in the squad - are you happy with that?', way before he names the squad.

"Certainly under the circumstances Roy may look back and say that would have been a smoother path and that would have nullified what's happened. Rio could have said he had a problem and they could have sorted that."

Communication

Steve McClaren, who took charge of the national team between 2006 and 2007 agreed communication should have been better between manager and player - although he suggested pressure from Ferdinand's club may have influenced his decision to withdraw after his call-up.

"I'm surprised as I thought it would have been sorted out before naming the squad," said the former Middlesbrough and FC Twente boss.

"Sometimes managers leave it to the last minute and expect the player will naturally come and often you name a squad on the Friday and you get a phone call saying he's dropped out.

"However, Rio will have been under a lot of pressure on both sides. One, he would have wanted to represent his country, which he's made clear his desire to do; but two, from the club side, which is where he makes his living and is looking for a new contract, they're going for the title and FA Cup."

Tough

Although fellow guest Ray Wilkins reckons the defender would have turned out had the national team been facing a heavyweight, Hoddle is in no doubt Ferdinand would have been a vital asset to the England team for their Tuesday night trip to Group H leaders Montenegro and urged Hodgson's men not to underestimate the Balkan side.

"The Montenegro game is going to be a tough game, especially with the lack of quality centre halves we can call upon," said Hoddle.

"It's away from home and we had a tough game there in 2011 when England just sneaked through to Euro 2012. That was an experienced team then, as well. The back four is certainly going to come under some pressure."